In early 2005, we were faced with the prospect of Atlantic Realty buying out the entire southside of LaVista Road from the COA limits to Woodland Hills Drive. Take a look at what is being developed across from the Publix and imagine that continuing down LaVista Road, with one end of it opening up onto Woodland Hills Drive and backing up to Country Lane.
That threat galvanized many of us from LaVista Park and Woodland Hills to fight this proposal. Since that time there have been other proposals put forth by various developers that we have had to fight.
Many of us have grown weary of constantly “fighting” to protect our homes from out-of-control redevelopment. Under the auspices of the LVPCA, a group came together to discuss what we could do to have a positive say in how this corridor is developed.
At this first meeting, residents from Woodland Hills and Lindridge Martin Manor showed up, as they, too, were concerned about what was happening along Lindbergh and LaVista and how it might impact their neighborhoods.
After a couple of more meetings, it was apparent that we needed to form our own group to collectively represent the common interests of the neighborhoods along the corridor. Having such an independent group would allow everyone participating to have an equal voice. If we continued under the guidance of one particular neighborhood, then only members of that neighborhood could vote on any matters. Additionally, since we were trying to coordinate planning efforts across jurisdictional boundaries, we needed to be able to focus our time, talents and energy on dealing with the complexities of this corridor without draining those very resources from the various neighborhoods.
Our group’s purpose is neutral—neither for nor against development. It is, rather, to lead to the creation of a master plan for the Lindbergh LaVista corridor, similar to plans developed elsewhere in the area. There is a general acknowledgement that change and growth are inevitable, and the only desire of the group is to have a say in planning for that change, rather than let it come willy-nilly, so that the affected communities will remain attractive and desirable places to live. One end-product could be a type of overlay that would affect only the properties immediately along the Lindbergh LaVista corridor—making it truly a corridor study. The advantage of this would be that it might allow for various types of development along the corridor without affecting the land use or zoning designations of the adjacent properties to the north or south.
The goals of our Coalition are:
- First, to create a vision of what the community would like to see in the future along Lindbergh Drive and LaVista Road.
- Second, to take the specifics of this vision to the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County for incorporation in the DeKalb master plan.
- And third, to attract developers who were interested in pursuing developments compatible with this vision. It is important to keep a positive attitude during what is to be a long and sometimes frustrating process.
Creating a coalition of neighbors to encourage responsible and compatible growth,
share information and improve livability in the Lindbergh LaVista Corridor.
To achieve our mission and realize our goals, we are guided by the following values:
Anticipate change and what is best for our community.
Think and work across boundaries to achieve common goals.
Promote innovative and creative solutions.
Communicate in an open and honest manner and share information freely.
Be flexible and responsive to the community.
Recognize the diversity that exists within the community.
We established a website and an email system to keep everyone informed of our progress, incorporated as a non profit in the state of Georgia, received our IRS letter of determination as a 501(c)3 organization.
501(c)3 tax-exempt status will allows us to solicit donations from corporations and other foundations for streetscaping improvements along the corridor, including major neighborhood streets.
With the support of the City of Atlanta Planning Department, the DeKalb County Planning Department, and our County Commissioners Jeff Rader and Kathie Gannon, we applied for a Livable Centers Initiative Grant from the Atlanta Regional Commission. This grant allowed for the hiring of a professional planner to study the corridor, along with our input, and to devise an overall plan for the corridor that reflects the desires of the community at large. The LCI program recently changed its focus from activity centers to corridor studies. Applying for such a grant is not something that an individual neighborhood would be able to do own its own. ARC is looking for broad scope planning efforts for their grants.
Our membership is open to anyone living or working within the three neighborhoods of Lindridge Martin Manor, LaVista Park and Woodland Hills. Our organization is not to replace your respective associations, but to better utilize the time and talents of those organizations to address and find solutions to our common problems and shared goals.